Tennis Betting Advice - September 2020

French Open: Day 3 – pieces for the puzzle at 50/1…

Tuesday 29th September 2020

In your Ones to Watch email today:

  • French Open – Day 3…
  • Outright Winner picks…
  • One to Watch at 25/1, 50/1, 66/1…

Welcome to Day 3 of your Ones to Watch French Open daily service…

We knew this would be a unique French Open.

Only a handful of fans in the stadium. A new, autumn slot on the calendar.

And with the weather conditions taking a turn for the worst. Coupled with a new ball that is proving hard to hit through.

Well, then we have the backdrop for a really interesting fortnight…

‘Not fit for dogs to chew’…

It’s also going to be tough. Tough for the players. And us, too.

Daniil Medvedev slugged away for over three hours last night, to no avail.

After Monday’s play was held up by two hours due to rain, Medvedev and Marton Fucsovics got on court around 8pm local time, and it was getting on for midnight by the time they trudged off again.

Cold evening conditions make this new Wilson ball even harder to push around and hit winners. The Russian and the Hungarian played out some long, brutal, frustrating rallies.

No excuses in the end. Fucsovics was the better player on the night. I’ll have no hesitation in backing Medvedev again at 40/1 next time, though. The 24-year-old is the real deal. His time will come to make a run at the French Open. But alas, it won’t be this year.

That three-hour match was a stroll in the park compared to some of the other encounters in the men’s draw yesterday. Four, five, and even six-hour court times were posted. Clay is always conducive to long rallies. But these slow conditions are something else. The points really need winning. And when there’s a professional tennis player on each side of the net, then a lot of those balls are going to keep coming back.

Brutal was a word also used by Dan Evans. And cold. The Brit was sent packing in the 1st round. Evans joined the chorus of concern over the new, heavy-playing ball:

“Some of those balls we were using you wouldn't give to a dog to chew … It's tough to get that ball to go anywhere.”

An opportunity…

If you’re a long-time Ones to Watch member, then you’ll know that I am, if nothing else, ever the optimist.

We can look at this year’s tricky French Open as a nut too tough to crack. Or we can accept the challenge, and take on the puzzle at hand…

After all, this tournament is tough for everyone. That includes the bookmakers. Other bettors. And the star players…

On Monday alone we saw underdogs prevail in the match markets at odds of 3/1, 10/3, 7/2, 7/1. And with the 1st round still to be completed, over a dozen seeded players have already been knocked out across the men’s & women’s draws.

That sounds like prime Ones to Watch territory to me. We’re hunting for big-price opportunities. Players to break through. Youngsters on the up. Underdogs with serious potential to spring a surprise.

I’m taking these French Open playing conditions as an opportunity, not a hindrance.

Let’s get to work on piecing together that puzzle…

Strongest arm wins? Or crafty does it…

The way I see it, there are two types of play that will get the job done on these stodgy Roland Garros clay courts.

One route is to back players in possession of the sheer brute force needed to club these balls into submission. The forehand and backhand weapons to end rallies early. The strong-arm strength to keep hitting those balls, with accuracy as well as power, time after time after time.

The other tactic is to zoom in on the draw and pinpoint a crafty player. Someone with the patience to hang in the long & winding rallies, and wait for their moment to attack, or for an error from their opponent. Players with the guile and range of shots to move the ball around, slice, squash-chop, lob, drop-shot, whatever is needed to get the point won.

And the two skillsets are not mutually exclusive. The onboard computer is important, too. We want players with the tennis brain to match this French Open conundrum.

I’ve got four names in my notes that I’m bringing to the fore and adding to the Outright Winner book today. As ever, we’re going for attractive odds, Each Way. With the potential to punch or squeeze through the holes in this French Open draw as the next few rounds unfold…

Form horses at 25/1 and 66/1…

As it stands, we’re on two players from pre-tournament, at 33/1+ each, Stan Wawrinka and Iga Swiatek.

At those kinds of prices, we can put our eggs in several baskets this Paris fortnight. Four names for the Ones to Watch list today:

Starting with two of the form horses of 2020…

We’ve backed Elena Rybakina and Andrey Rublev a couple of times already this year. Both have made multiple finals already, and with age on their side, look ready to start making big impacts at the Grand Slams.

Rybakina has reached a highly impressive five WTA finals so far this season, including at odds of 22/1, 25/1 and 28/1. The most recent run was on clay in Strasbourg last week. Backing up tournaments can be difficult. But on the two other occasions where the 21-year-old has reached a final this year, she has followed it up by going all the way again in her very next event.

Odds of 25/1 mark the Russian-born Kazakhstan representative as one to follow here, outside of the short-price favourites and big names. Elena falls in the camp of the strong-arm hitters. She also looks to have a pretty good head on her shoulders, with an excellent poker face.

In the men’s, with fellow Russian Daniil Medvedev now gone, we go back to Andrey Rublev, who was a big-odds pick for us at the US Open last time out (quarter finals). The 22-year-old will hit balls all day. He’s very serious about winning tennis matches. He’s got a big game, with bags of power and energy – and a streaky one, too…

Right now, Rublev is on one of those streaks. He won ATP Hamburg last week, beating the much-fancied Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

After those exploits, the French Open organisers have wisely given Andrey a couple of days to get ready for this campaign. He plays his 1st round match v Sam Querrey today (the American has gone out in the 1st round on the Paris clay in three of the last four years, and in eight out of 12 attempts overall).

So far this year, Rublev has reached three ATP finals, lifting the trophy each time, including back to back tournament wins in January. If he maintains his current level, then he has a very good chance of making the quarter finals here – and even better. Odds of 66/1 and 50/1 are well worth taking. I can see this guy in Grand Slam finals at some point.

Power and precision at 50/1…

Going back to the women’s draw, and the bottom half where Rybakina resides, Jennifer Brady is another that has the ability to rip winners past any opponent…

The top half of the ladies’ draw-sheet contains big names like Simona Halep and Serena Williams. This bottom side could produce an outsider in the final. A couple of seeds are already out, including Madison Keys. Others could also be vulnerable:

Second seed Karolina Pliskova (22/1) has gone beyond the 4th round in just one of the last six Grand Slams. While 7th seed Petra Kvitova (16/1) is just two from nine in that department.

Former French Open winner, and 2020 Australian Open runner-up, Garbine Muguruza is hard to trust at just 7/1. The Spaniard needed every inch of the full three sets to get past Tamara Zidansek yesterday, coming from 0-3 down in the decider, with a medical timeout in there, too.

Brady has the power to stay with the likes of Pliskova, Kvitova, Muguruza, and 8th seed Aryna Sabalenka (50/1). A recent run to the US Open semi finals can prove a major breakthrough. Granted, that was on hard courts. But confidence should be there, such was the American’s game this summer. College tennis and an off-season training camp in Germany has prepared Jennifer to compete hard, and improve her game. She was 22/1 in New York. 66/1 and 50/1 appeals for an outsider selection here.

Last but not least, our 25/1 winner from WTA Palermo after lockdown, Fiona Ferro returns to the court today…

The 23-year-old Frenchwomen has cracked the Top 50 this year, won a maiden tour title, and shown plenty of skill and grit. She plays with a nice blend of power on the forehand side, and all-round precision and craft.

Including lower-tier events this summer, Ferro has made the final in each of her last three tournaments. Your home Grand Slam is obviously a big step up. But this is a fast-improving player, and the upside is there in odds of 50/1, 66/1, and even 80/1.

Ones to Watch:

Outright Winner picks – Each Way

French Open – Men’s:

  • Andrey Rublev is 66/1 with Bet365, NetBet, 10Bet, 50/1 William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral, BetVictor, Betfred, Betway

French Open – Women’s:

  • Elena Rybakina is 25/1 with Bet365, Skybet, 888 Sport, Unibet, 22/1 in general
  • Jennifer Brady is 66/1 with Bet365, 50/1 Boylesports, NetBet, 10Bet, Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook, Betfred, Betway
  • Fiona Ferro is 80/1 with 888 Sport, Unibet, 66/1 Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook, Betfred, 50/1 in general

Each Way terms: 1/2 odds 1-2 places.

You can watch the French Open live on the Eurosport channels, website and app.

I’ll be back tomorrow morning with your Day 4 preview.

Enjoy the tennis…

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Tom Wilson

Ones to Watch